February 13 2004
THE CALPUNDIT CONTRADICTION: Unfortunately, I don't have a
lot of time this morning, but I did want to make a quick observation.
has spent weeks speculating on George Bush's National Guard records
and linking to documents and articles that suggest, if not outright
assert, that there is something embarrassing in them that the
President has been trying to hide since before the 2000 election
(disciplinary action?, drugs and alcohol?).
the last few days he's been pushing
the story of former National Guardsman Bill Burkett, who claims
that back in 1997 he heard his superior officers giving an order
to have George W. Bush's National Guard files "cleansed"
of any embarrassing information.
All of this
is very interesting stuff, but it leaves me with a single, simple
question: So which is it? Have Bush's records been "cleansed",
in which case there couldn't possibly be any embarrassing information
in them, or is the opposite true: that there is something in Bush's
files that is, in fact, embarrassing to the President and that's
why he's not releasing them fully?
From a theoretical
standpoint, I guess it is possible Bush's records could have been
"cleansed" but remain somehow embarrassing. Maybe the
evildoers bungled the job. Still, that's a pretty thin reed to
hang your tin-hat on, don't you think?
real rub: Drum and friends would respond to this by saying, of
course, that the entire matter could be cleared up instantly if
Bush just opened up all his files. But given the fact they're
now asserting that Bush's records have been scrubbed, that's not
really a true statement any more, is it?
the trap has now been set so the President loses whether he releases
his records fully or not. If he does release the files and there
is something embarrassing in them - even if that something doesn't
contradict his claims of having done his duty - he will be pilloried.
But now if
he releases the records and there isn't anything embarrassing
in them, the Bush-hating left will shrug their shoulders and say,
"well, we knew his files were cleansed anyway" and go
right back to assaulting his character and his service. It's a
As I've said
before, the unfortunate thing about this game we're playing is
that it doesn't have a single thing to do with making a judgment
about the record of this President's first term in office and
deciding whether the he should be granted a second term. That
is what the election in November is supposed to be about, right?
- T. Bevan 7:08 am | Link
February 12 2004
MR. SOROS COMES TO CHICAGO: I haven't had a chance to go over
my notes yet and I don't want to rush into a detailed discussion
of George Soros' remarks last night at the Chicago Council on
Foreign Relations. You can get a pretty good taste of his speech
Chicago Sun-Times report on his appearance at the University
of Chicago earlier in the day.
What I can
say about the speech is this: it took place at a huge ballroom
at the Fairmont Hotel. The Council had set up to accommodate 1,500
people and by the time Soros took the podium they had run out
of seats. It was the largest turnout for a CCFR event in more
than 2 1/2 years - and that includes the panel discussions held
in the aftermath of September 11.
remarks, which lasted about 40 minutes, the crowd broke out into
spontaneous applause every time he mentioned the necessity of
defeating George Bush at the polls in November - about four times
in all if I remember correctly.
Soros was preaching to the choir last night, but the sentiment
in the room was unmistakable: these people believe with every
fiber of their bodies that the fate of the country and the world
hangs on the result of the upcoming election.
powerful motivation that I have yet to see materialize from the
other side of the aisle, though I suspect it will as we move closer
night's event also helps explain why the Dems have been acting
in such frantic (and at times even desperate) ways, and why they're
willing to settle on a guy like John Kerry as their nominee. Most
of the base couldn't care less about him as a person, a leader,
or as someone who represents the values they care about. This
year, however, there's only one "value" that counts,
and that's the ability to beat George W. Bush.
This is going
to be an incredibly contentious election. It already is. But the
one other thing I kept thinking last night is how utterly devastated
and demoralized the people in that room (and others like them
around the country) will feel if they wake up on November 3 and
a majority of the country has confirmed that they want George
W. Bush to continue as their President for another 4 years. "Apoplectic"
doesn't even begin to describe the sort of emotional turmoil liberals
will be in if this happens.
have mercy if Republicans somehow manage a huge night in November,
pick up a few Senate seats and significantly increase their chances
of getting judges on federal bench and the Supreme Court in 2005.
I honestly think we'd start to see some on the left throw in the
towel and move out of the country.
maybe if conservatives get really lucky this November they could
finally get Robert Altman, Alec Baldwin and Barbara Streisand
make good on their promises......
THE POLLS: We've updated the state
polls page this morning with new polls in NY, TX, WI, and
IL. ARG will be releasing an updated poll on Wisconsin tonight.
A new poll
Herseth has a big lead over Republican Larry Diedrich in the
SD House special election race.
USA released a poll two days ago showing that Alice Forgy
Kerr had closed the gap with Ben Chandler to 6 points, but a new
Bluegrass Poll out this morning has Chandler ahead 49.4% to
Kerr's 39.6% with 11% remaining undecided.
released polls yesterday on the IL Senate primary races. With
about 5 weeks left until primary day, SurveyUSA shows that Democrat
Blair Hull has scooted out to a 10-point lead over Dan Hynes and
On the GOP
side, Jack Ryan continues to lead what has essentially become
a 2-man race with Jim Oberweis. (Programming Note: We're in the
process of setting up an interview with Ryan right now. Hopefully
we'll be able to sit down with him by the end of the month.)
Thanks to all who submitted captions for the "Weasel Contest"
I initiated a couple of days ago. I've posted many of the responses
- at least all of those suited for a family friendly blog like
this one, anyway - on a separate
page. Enjoy. - T. Bevan 10:35 am | Link
February 11 2004
PIECES TO THE GUARD PUZZLE: I didn't really want to
get into the nitty-gritty middle of the Bush National Guard story,
but I find myself there anyway. After watching the absolutely
disgraceful performance by reporters at yesterday's White House
press briefing, it looks as if we've now fully entered a vortex
McClellan stood at the podium with two new pieces of documentation,
released as promised, supporting Bush's claim that he fulfilled
his service requirements. Together with his honorable discharge,
that makes three pieces of evidence that, at an absolute minimum,
refute the AWOL charge against Bush.
didn't matter. The press was completely impervious to the presentation
of evidence that might in any way be seen as exonerating the President.
They sniffed and sneered at the documents for a few minutes and
then went on to obliterate McClellan with questions demanding
a level of detail about events 30+ years ago that simply boggled
I want to
address a couple of points specifically. First, one of the main
aspects of the National Guard story being cited by the press is
the apparent "contradiction" between the records presented
yesterday and previous statements by National Guard commanders
about Bush's service.
we're talking about a quote from retired Brig. Gen. William Turnipseed
that appeared May 2000 in both the Boston Globe and the Associated
who was commander of the Alabama National Guard squadron during
the time period in question is
quoted as saying, "To my knowledge, he [Bush] never showed
almost popped a vein yesterday demanding that McClellan explain
the apparent "contradiction."
worth noting that Terry McAuliffe, who has taken the publicizing
of this story (and his position as the leader of a national party)
to a new low said yesterday:
fact remains that there is still no evidence that George W.
Bush showed up for duty as ordered while in Alabama."
neither of these things are true; Bush was not "ordered"
to report for duty in Alabama, nor does Turnipseed's quote present
any sort of conclusive evidence of a contradiction.
I refer you
to this article in the Chicago
Sun-Times, which says:
an interview , Turnipseed states that Robinson's reporting of
their conversation (in the Boston Globe in 2000) was either
distorted or based upon his misunderstanding of how the military
functioned at the time of Bush's service.
related article from the LA Times:
you're interested in his military records," Turnipseed said, "the
facts are that he never belonged to the Alabama National Guard.
He was never under my command. No one had the authority to order
him to do anything. We couldn't cause him to be AWOL or anything
more from Turnipseed in today's
he [Turnipseed] told the AP that he was not sure whether he
was even on the base during the time Bush was assigned there.
Moreover, he said: "In 1972, I didn't even know he was supposed
to come. I didn't know that until 2000. I'm not saying that
he wasn't there. If he said he was there, I believe it. I don't
remember seeing him."
does all of this leave us? Nowhere new, really. It's just we've
now reached a level of intensity and detail on this story that
is causing people to 1) forget the initial question and move the
goalposts 2) dismiss facts in favor of speculation.
FOR KEVIN: Kevin
Drum has been more or less the ringmaster of the Bush National
Guard circus on the web. Yesterday he posted
a roundup of developments on the National Guard story, including
a link to this
lengthy post by Bob Fertik of Democrats.com.
Here is what
Fertik says about the documents he obtained:
6  - the day before the election - Democrats.com filed
a FOIA request for Bush's pay records and his retirement records,
hoping against hope that we would receive an immediate response.
That didn't happen; three weeks later, on December 1, we received
a fax responding to our FOIA request.
the 2000 election was over, and Democrats.com was trying to
get to the bottom of a far greater mystery: who actually received
more votes in Florida. Amidst the recount frenzy, the FOIA
documents were forgotten.
2004, the AWOL issue was suddenly revived - not because of Bush's
critics, but because ABC's Peter Jennings challenged Wesley
Clark to denounce his supporter Michael Moore for calling Bush
a "deserter." Jennings was quickly joined by other media heavyweights,
including David Broder and Tim Russert.
began publishing follow-up stories, and in the course of
our research we discovered the FOIA documents that were forgotten
in 2000. As we tried to evalute the significance of these
documents, we shared our documents with other Internet researchers.
even pass the giggle test. Fertik wants us to believe that he
was desperately trying to get to the bottom of the Bush National
Guard story and when he finally did get a response from the government
that included official documentation of Bush's service record
he "forgot" it for 3 1/2 years. I find that very, very
hard to believe.
original post of the "untorn" ARF document says
what is ARF? I asked Bob Rogers, a retired Air National Guard
pilot who's been following this for some time, and what follows
is his interpretation of what happened."
So who exactly
is Bob Rogers? Kevin's rather benign description fails to point
out is that Rogers is also affiliated with Democrats.com - or
at the very least he's been published on their site. This
lengthy piece from October 4, 2000 alleges that the mysterious
gap in George Bush's service record was the result of his being
grounded for abuse of alcohol or drugs.
later there remains zero evidence to support such a charge, not
to mention the fact that even if someone was able to produce indisputable
proof that Bush was grounded for a substance abuse problem that
still wouldn't merit a charge of AWOL.
So, to summarize,
it looks as if Kevin was fed these documents by Democrats.com
that were lost for 3 1/2 years and then found earlier this year.
Drum then called a person previously published on Democrats.com
who was already on record concluding that Bush was grounded back
in 1972 for possible alcohol and/or drug abuse to get "his
interpretation of what happened". I'd say that's about as
far from a disinterested, objective party as you could possibly
find to provide analysis.
As I mentioned
in a previous post, Fertik is the proprietor of one of the most
frothy-mouthed, Bush-hating sites on the web. Don't take my word
for it, visit for yourself.
Be sure to not to miss this
page titled "Bush-Nazi Links", or this
special section called "Bush Hatred", or this
page calling for the impeachment of President Bush, Dick Cheney,
John Ashcroft, Chief Justice William Rehnquist, and House Majority
Leader Tom DeLay. And don't forget to click on this
page titled "The Bu$h Record" which contains the
following nifty subhead:
W. Bush stole the election, and now he is stealing our future.
Here are some comprehensive lists of the evil actions of the
I don't know
Kevin Drum personally, though I've traded a couple of emails with
him and I've read and enjoyed his commentary for quite a while.
I'm not trying to attack his integrity or suggest that he's been
trying to purposefully mislead people.
I want to make to Kevin is that this isn't some coffee house parlor
game. You're directly attacking and questioning the character
of the President of the United States. That's still a big deal
in my book, and something to be taken very seriously.
you're demanding perfect transparency and absolute accountability
from the President for things that happened 32 years ago, yet
you aren't fully disclosing details that have a direct bearing
on the biases and motivations of the people providing you with
information that you're disseminating through your blog.
Why not tell
us up front that Democrats.com gave you the documents which were,
as you say, available to the public for years under the FOIA?
Why not point us to the article by Bob Rogers? Both certainly
seem like germane pieces of information that readers would be
interested in, if not entitled to, to make informed judgments
about this story.
I can only
imagine the howls of derision that would come my way if we were
to publish documents (regardless of their ultimate authenticity)
or quote someone as an expert who came from or was published by
some venomous right wing, black-helicopter web site - especially
if we failed to mention up front that that's where the information
was coming from. We'd be trounced.
I have no
idea what the truth is or how this entire affair will ultimately
play out. Right now, the way I see it the scorecard reads 2-0
in favor of the President:
called him a "deserter." That was proven to be a slanderous
Many on the
left, including the presumptive nominee and the head of the Democratic
Party, have charged Bush with being AWOL. That has also been proven
to be a lie.
owe the President of the United States a public apology.
like we're now in the third set of the match, and the goal now
isn't to answer the big, important question of whether Bush fulfilled
his service requirements (that has already been answered ) but
to find something - anything - to embarrass and discredit the
press will find something in the end, and maybe it will be damaging
to the President politically. I don't know. But I sincerely doubt
that whatever they may find in the fall of 1972 or the spring
of 1973 will have anything to do with George W.Bush's ability
to lead this country in the year 2004 and beyond.
TOMORROW AND THE NEXT DAY: If you've somehow managed to make
it all the way to the end of today's post (there are probably
only two or three of you left), I'm going to see George Soros
speak tonight at the Chicago
Council on Foreign Relations. Should make for an interesting
blog tomorrow or the next day. And I'll also be posting some of
the hillarious captions I received from yesterday's contest (see
below). If you didn't submit anything, there's still time left.
- T. Bevan 10:40 am | Link
February 10 2004
FEILER FASTER PRINCIPLE: Mickey Kaus is not only the architect
of the Feiler
Faster Principle, he's putting
it to good use against John Kerry by collecting story after
story demolishing Kerry's claim to be a champion against "special
interests." The latest is this
pistol-whipping by Jake Tapper at ABC News.
At this rate
Kaus will have deconstructed Kerry's phony populism in about a
month (even if he has been ridiculing Kerry for quite a bit longer
Shrum. It took him at least five times that long to get Kerry
fully dressed up and programmed as a "man of the people."
big question: after Kaus & Co. are done shredding Kerry's
populist image, will Shrum have a backup plan? Is he going to
have a strategy to fight off the buyer's remorse that's sure to
beset his candidate about six weeks from now? Don't know. -
T. Bevan 11:14 am | Link
THE GUARD TWIST: Am I reading this
story right? Has a partisan Democrat been in possession of/sitting
on exculpatory evidence of President Bush's service in the National
Guard for nearly 4 years? Sure sounds that way:
Globe obtained both of the documents from a political activist
who says he acquired them in December 2000 from the Air Reserve
Personnel Center in Colorado. The activist, Bob Fertig, is a
cofounder of Democrats.com, a website that has no formal affiliation
with the Democratic Party."
How in the
heck did someone like Bob Fertig get his hands on these records?
If you've ever been to Democrats.com
you know it is one of the most viciously partisan sites on
the web. Even as we speak they're running a banner ad that blinks
"Bush Was Grounded in 1972. Was it for Drugs?"
and "Was Bush AWOL for 2 Years? Was it covered up?"
This is an
absolutely bizarre twist to a story that just won't go away.
link to the document itself. It's the same one Kevin
Drum posted on Sunday evening. Kevin introduced the document
by saying, "Answer: it's real. Here's the untorn version,
as delivered to Bob Fertik in response to a FOIA request in late
went on to speculate about what type of service it might have
recorded for Bush and what it might mean. There was no explanation
of who Bob Fertig (or Fertik) is, what his interest in the Guard
story might be, why this document remained out of view for so
long, or how it came to Kevin's attention.
was one of the documents that the NY Times saw in 2000 which caused
them to pronounce the AWOL charge against Bush almost completely
without merit. Who knows?
document does show, however, is that Bush did serve during the
time in question. It's a direct refutation of the AWOL charge.
the goal posts are moving and we're entering into a new discussion,
not whether Bush served but rather the type and "quality"
of his service during his time in the Guard.
interesting note. If you read further down in the Boston Globe
story you find this:
called for an independent investigation. Noting that the new
documents are contradicted by other public documents, and statements
by Bush's Guard superiors, Fertig said the public has a right
to know whether Bush received credit for duty he did not perform."
has been in possession of a document showing proof of Bush's service
record for nearly 4 years and now, all of the sudden as we approach
a presidential election it comes to light and his response is
to call for an independent investigation? Forgive me for being
a tad skeptical of how this thing is developing..... - T. Bevan
FAST: Josh Marshall is blowing
smoke again, this time about next week's special election
in Kentucky 6. He should know better than to try divine national
implications from a local election and to suggest that a loss
by Alice Forgy-Kerr will be a "major headache"
for President Bush and "will be viewed as a sign of his broader
be disappointed if they can't hold the seat? Of course. Is the
President politically weaker now than he was, say, three months
are a number of reasons why Ben Chandler is leading this race,
none of which have to do with President Bush. Marshall's preemptive
attempt to try spin the results of a Congressional election in
Kentucky into some sort of harbinger of a national election 8
1/2 months away, well, that's the sort of futile task that should
be left to party hacks like Terry McAuliffe.
I checked, Terry was explaining to us rubes why gubernatorial
victories in New Jersey and Virginia in 2001 were such excellent
indicators for Democrats' success in the 2002 midterms. We all
know how that turned out.
CONTEST: We never do this, but I'm feeling a bit irreverent
this morning and in need of some humor. Thus I can't resist initiating
a caption contest for the following picture:
"Hey Gerhardt, did you hear the one about Saddam and the
If you need
a little inspiration, read David
Ignatius in today's Washington Post. Send your entry by clicking
here. Good luck. - T. Bevan 8:36 am | Link
February 9 2004
MIRANDA RIGHTS: Manuel Miranda, the Republican Senate
staffer fired for accessing Democrats' unprotected documents on
judicial nominations via a glitch in the Senate computer network,
released a departure statement that is worth reading in its
entirety. But here is a tantalizing morsel:
all the material I came to read was historical and already a
matter of record. Some documents, however, recorded collusive,
partisan considerations in the confirmation process, and much
worse. Only a small amount of these have been made public. The
ones made public are the least indicting of the documents I
came to see."
the whole thing. - T. Bevan 6:26pm | Link
UPDATES: We've updated our National
2004 Democrat Poll page as well as added a page tracking the
numbers on the Bush v. Kerry match
Also, I want
to let you know I had to bite the bullet on email this morning
and delete about 700 messages. Some of them dated back almost
a year. I do my best to respond to as many as I can, but over
time it just becomes impossible to keep up. I apologize if your
email was one that I wasn't able to respond to, but please know
that I do read each and every email and I appreciate anyone who
took the time to mail a thought, a kind word, or a constructive
I still have
about 200 left that I'm going to try and work through this week
now that I'm feeling better, and moving ahead I'm going to try
to devote more time to email so feel free to keep sending 'em
A while back
I posted a poignant email from a reader about his father-in-law
who lay dying of a brain tumor in a Brooklyn hospital. Sadly,
I received another email last week saying that he had passed away.
with his permission and our sincerest condolences, is Tim Sumner's
moving eulogy to his father-in-law:
father dad died this morning at 4:40 am.
Keeper First Class (SK1) Joseph P. Leavey honorably served America
in the US Navy in both the Pacific and Mediterranean during
World War II. His battle ribbons include those for the North
African, Italian, southern France, and Philippine campaigns.
home in 1946 and married his sweetheart Mary.
they raised 4 children in the shadow of their church and strong
in their faith in God.
retired in 1980 after 27 years as a NY City Transit Police Officer.
preceded in death by his only son, Lt Joseph G. Leavey, a 19
year firefighter, who led FDNY's Ladder 15 to the 78th floor
of the South Tower of the World Trade Center.
15 saved a number of people's lives by directing them down the
stairs to the elevator they operated and used to shuttle people
to the lobby.
6 of the Ladder 15 firefighters inside the South Tower perished
when the tower collapsed while they were trying to reach those
trapped above the plane's impact point.
who was the father of a hero died today. He did not live to
see justice brought to his son's murderer.
mourn these two men and all those who have fallen in this war,
will pass the word to them when that mission is completed.
God bless them and keep them, and may God continue to bless
- T. Bevan 12:49pm | Link
AL GORE TO THE RESCUE: Thank God for Al Gore. No, really.
Yesterday amid all the chatter and punditizing over Bush's Meet
the Press interview - much of which was not
very complimentary, by the way, but we'll get to more of that
in a minute - here comes Big Al, screeching
that George W. Bush "betrayed" the country.
Suellentrop of Slate described Gore's speech to Tennessee
Democrats last night as one "angry, sweaty shout "and
another example of Gore trying to "convince the world that
Bush is one of history's worst presidents."
to Suellentrop, here is what Gore said:
think there were millions just like me, who genuinely, in spite
of whatever partisanship they may have felt prior to that time,
genuinely felt like they wanted George W. Bush to lead all of
us in America wisely and well.
the reason I'm recalling those feelings now is because those
are the feelings that were betrayed by this president! He betrayed
this country! He played on our fears! He took America, he took
America on an ill-conceived foreign adventure dangerous to our
troops, an adventure that was preordained and planned before
9/11 ever took place!
so I say to you in closing my friends, in the year of 2004,
the truth shall rise again!"
the truth is going to have a pretty hard time finding its way
out of such ridiculous partisan crap.
to the good news for George W. Bush. In many ways, the arc of
Al Gore's career perfectly mirrors the transformation of the Democratic
party over the last two decades: Gore started as a conservative
member of the House, moved a little to the left during his tenure
in the Senate, a little bit further to the left as Bill Clinton's
vice-president, went way left as a presidential candidate in 2000
and in the last two years since 9/11 Gore's proven himself to
be a far left fever swamp dweller.
All I can
say is, "keep it up." Please. The Democratic party looks
increasingly like a junkie strung out on Bush-hating drugs. They
have no vision for the future, are unable to articulate any serious
policy alternatives, and now live only for the next high, which
usually comes in the form of slanderous, ad hominem attacks on
the President like the one Al Gore delivered last night. Or the
ones channeled through groups like MoveOn.org.
base's utter indifference to John Kerry as a person, as a candidate,
and to his current and past positions on the issues. The party's
hollowness is summed up neatly by the breathtaking banality of
their current call to arms: "Anybody but Bush."
This is the
first presidential election in America since three thousand of
our fellow citizens were killed by terrorists on our own soil
and Democrats are coming to the country with the message "anybody
but Bush." Um, okay.
Such a blatantly
shallow message may work if Iraq goes badly and the economy stops
producing jobs. But if not,this November John Kerry and his fellow
Democrats could find themselves standing in the middle of a gunfight
holding a pocketknife.
The main reason Terry
Kerry, and many liberal blogs have taken to regurgitating
the "Bush was AWOL" charge with such verve is because
they know they can't beat the president arguing national security
policy so they have to try discredit him personally. Frankly,
I find it to be a bit on the scummy side.
As I've written
before, I'm not such a Kool-Aid drinking Bush supporter to be
completely closed off to the idea that Bush may have missed a
few meetings in Alabama while serving in the National Guard.
But as things
stand now - and as they've stood for the past three years - the
facts don't support an AWOL charge against the President, no matter
how much you may love or hate him.
you take a step back and think about this for a second, even if
you grant Kevin
Drum and Josh Marshall
their worst case scenario against Bush - that he blew off Guard
duty for an entire year and then crammed at the end to fulfill
his requirement before heading off to business school - there
really is no getting around the fact that Bush did indeed fulfill
his service obligation and received an honorable discharge from
the National Guard. That fact alone makes the AWOL charge a scurrilous
for the sake of argument the truth lies somewhere in the middle;
that Bush reported to duty in Alabama a couple of times and the
records got lost along the way, but also that he did miss some
service during that year.
willing to challenge the veracity of Bush's discharge then Kevin,
Josh and the rest are left trying to prove the unprovable, all
the while ignoring the only salient fact (Bush's honorable discharge)
in order to trade in speculation and innuendo that casts aspersions
on Bush's character.
I hate to
say it but, I'm sorry, this seems like Vince Foster territory
to me: "I know we've got the police report, the note, and
the independent investigation saying it was a suicide, but you
know the press hasn't been doing their job and if they would just
look at Hillary's phone records or......"
wrong. Maybe there is something in Bush's service record and the
bloggers I've mentioned are performing an invaluable service by
helping bring it to light. If so, then even though I'm uncomfortable
with how they've gone about it, I may have to say the ends justify
But if they
can't produce proof or come up with anything more than endless
streams speculation over the next 8 months then they will have
performed a great injustice to the President and to their readers.
And they may also help reinforce the notion among some that the
blogosphere is nothing more than an online rumor mill. That would
be most unfortunate.
MTP: Some thought he did well, some not so well. I thought
the President did a decent job, but I think he suffered yesterday
from not being eloquent enough to make his case as well as it
could have been made. During the interview I kept thinking to
myself, "if Bill Clinton were in the same exact situation
making the exact same argument, he'd be knocking it out of the
park." Bush could only hit a single.
My main gripe
is that the President didn't make a strong enough case in defense
of the nature of the intelligence he received. If I had been advising
the President, I would have suggested he say something like this:
you know, intelligence gathering is a difficult business. The
United States government strives every single day to produce
the best intelligence it can and every administration tries
to make the best judgments it can based on that intelligence.
intelligence business infallible? Of course not. Some of it
is correct, some incorrect, and some in between. But we have
to take it all together, as a body of evidence to make our decisions.
me give you an example. In the months prior to September 11
we picked up some very vague "chatter" from various
places on possible terrorist activities. Looking back, we also
see now that there were scraps of information floating around
different agencies of the CIA and FBI regarding some of the
all of the intelligence out there true? No. Some of it was and
some of it wasn't. But looking back we know now that there was
a grave threat to America gathering right within our own borders
that resulted in the death of more than 3,000 of our fellow
as President is to work as hard as I can and take whatever steps
are necessary to prevent such an event from happening again
and to make America safer.
let me say, sitting down to look at the intelligence reports
on Iraq and Saddam Hussein after September 11 - years worth
of evidence not only from our government but from other governments
around the world as well as the United Nations - there was no
question in my mind or the mind of any of the members of my
administration that Saddam represented a serious threat to America
the world. So we acted. And we did the right thing."
I just think
using a pre-9/11 example makes the argument much more powerful
and blunts one of the major criticisms coming from the left. I'd
be willing to bet most Americans only wish now the administration
had "cherry picked" intel from the FBI on the September
11 hijackers. - T. Bevan 8:16 am | Link